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The Scott-SRAM Swiss is the new king of Titano XCO, Internazionali d’Italia Series stage 3. Bianchi Countervail’s Nadir Colledani was a surprising 2nd ahead of World Champion Nino Schurter. Eva Lechner claims a comeback win among Open Women, Vittone and Marzani deliver in the Junior series
The two edition of the short history of Titano XCO could not have been more different from each other: after last year’s sweltering heat that affected the riders on the tough drags of San Marino’s Montecchio Park, the pouring rain sorted out the contenders for the third stage of Internazionali d’Italia Series on Sunday April 28th.
Something has not changed though: the one organized by the Federazione Sanmarinese Ciclismo is a demanding and technically enticing race, appreciated by riders and coaches. In addition, as expected, two big names succeeded in writing their names in the winners’ list: European Champion Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM) among men and reigning Italian National Champion Eva Lechner (Torpado-Südtirol) among women.
And what about Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM)? The World and Olympic Champion honored the race at his best, in his first time at an Internazionali d’Italia Series race since his victory in Milan, 2016: on the attack from the very first bend, the Swiss rider suffered the weather and terrain conditions deep in the race, surrendering to teammate Forster and to an outstanding Nadir Colledani (Bianchi Countervail), who wrote in San Marino what was – possibly – the most beautiful page of his Elite career so far.
FORSTER THE “RAINMAKER” IN SAN MARINO
When the Open Men riders lined up at the start of Titano XCO, rain showers had already been falling for roughly four hours on the Montecchio Park terrain: the conditions could not be more different from the previous day’s recognitions, and eventually forced some riders to change their technical choices for the race.
A few turns were enough on the course charted by the Federazione Sammarinese Ciclismo for the values to come out: Schurter forced the pace from the very beginning, followed by a shiny Colledani, and C.S. Carabinieri Nicholas Pettinà, Luca and Daniele Braidot chasing not far behind. The start was not quite as good for Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Ursus), for Forster and for GC leader Stephane Tempier (Bianchi Countervail), whose long-gear racing style isn’t overly suited to this kind of conditions.
Many have struggled in adapting to the slippery terrain early on, particularly on the “trunks descent”, where the vast majority of the riders has tested the ground at some point during the race. If both Colledani and Schurter insisted in their pacing action, Forster was able to bridge back on them at the end of lap 2 of 5, eventually managing to break clear halfway through the following one. From there, it was a solo action by the Swiss, whilst Colledani even managed to drop the reigning World and European champion in the final lap.
The solid race by Nicholas Pettinà (C.S. Carabinieri) was rewarded by a fourth place, ahead of Italian National Champion Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado Ursus), while Tempier (Bianchi Countervail) settled for 10th, holding on the leader’s jerey in the process. Juri Zanotti (Torpado Ursus) maintained his lead among Under 23.
“Today it was really tough,” Forster told, “when at the hotel we saw the weather conditions, the morale wasn’t really sky-high. My start wasn’t the best, but I found my rhythm as laps went by, and from there everything went pretty smooth. Winning is the best way for me to approach the core period of the season, and that’s what I am looking to keep on doing.”
Happy, and almost incredulous, Nadir Colledani celebrated a valuable runner-up spot: “I am very happy, I wasn’t expecting such a race today. Instead, I have kept on with Nino from the beginning, even while struggling on the way down: at the first lap we “bowling crashed”, in the following ones I opted to walk down the trickiest ones, but without losing touch with the two Swiss riders. Distancing the World Champion was quite special: I think this isn’t the best Nino yet, but to battle with two important jerseys like those is really something.”
World Champion Schurter was fairly satisfied with his third spot: “It was a very hard race, so to finish third is pretty good. These are not my favorite conditions – I am not that used to heavy mud and cold – but I always start a race trying to win it. This is a good race, with a technically-demainding course. Our experience in San Marino was good.”
EVA LECHNER QUEEN AT TITANO XCO
In San Marino only the Junior Men’s race escaped the rain: on the opposite, a violent downpour welcomed the Open Women’s race. In tough conditions, Italian National Champion Eva Lechner (Torpado Südtirol) used her experience to come out on top, succeeding in a comeback effort over Martina Berta (Torpado Ursus) and Vera Medvedeva (Metallurgica Veneta). The rider from Südtirol also took over the GC lead with 84 points: former leader Martina Berta slid behind with 80, with Medvedeva in third with 60.
Martina Berta and Marika Tovo (Ghost Factory Racing) were the first riders to open a gap after the start, but the 2018 Internazionali d’Italia Series winner tumbled in the first lap, and eventually fell out of contention. A crash also affected Eva Lechner’s pace in the first lap, but the experienced Italian came back in the second lap, then overcoming Berta and finally claiming a solo win.
“I didn’t start well at all today, as I had not chosen the best tires for these conditions, and crashed on my left side in the first lap,” the winner told. “I had to race through some grip issues, but still managed to pace my way back to the lead, and also wear the leader’s jersey in the process. I am slightly in pain, but happy.”
Letizia Marzani (Merida Team Italia) took her third win among Junior Women, strenghtening her GC lead. Second and third on the day were Letizia Motalli (KTM-Protek-Dama) and Julia Maria Graf (ASC Kardaun-Cardano).
JUNIOR MEN, VITTONE TAKES ALL
The Junior Men race opened the programme of Titano XCO. Andreas Emanuele Vittone (Monte Tamaro) left nothing on the road for the rivals on a still-dry course.
The Italian was a clear solo winner in his first 2019 Internazionali d’Italia Series success, and wore the Northwave Custom Project leader’s jersey. Behind him, Dario Cherchi (Bici Camogli) and Jan Laner (Bike Team Gais) came in second and third.
Vittone leads the overall with 80 points after three races, with a 12-point gap over Cherchi. “I am glad to have taken the leader’s jersey – the winner expleined. “Things didn’t go well in Andora, but I rediscovered good feelings in the following ones. I was targeting the jersey in my home race, in La Thuile, but I am more than happy to be ahead of schedule.”
NEXT UP: APRUTIUM RACE A PINETO
Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 4 comes in just a week: the Aprutium Race will take place in Pineto (Teramo) on Sunday May 5th. After that, only the grand finale of La Thuile will be left in the 2019 Internazionali d’Italia Series calendar.
The rain spared the Men’s Junior race, but the women competitions welcomed in San Marino by a violent downpour, that influenced Internazionali d’Italia Series‘ stage 3 Titano XCO. Veteran Eva Lechner (Torpado Sudtirol) emerged in very difficult conditions after a comeback race. The Italian National Champion preceded on the finish line Martina Berta (Torpado Ursus) and Vera Medvedeva (Metallurgica Veneta).
In addition, Eva Lechner is the new leader of the challenge with 84 points, ahead of Martina Berta (80) and Vera Medvedeva (60).
Martina Berta and Marika Tovo (Ghost Factory Racing) pushed up the pace from the early on, but Internazionali d’Italia Series’ defending champion slipped losing all chance of victory. Instead, after a crash in the first lap, Eva Lechner quickly moved up positions and set out in pursuit of escapee Berta, managing to bridge the gap in the second lap. Then, Lechner has overtaken Andora Race Cup‘s winner, soloing on the finish line.
“The race didn’t begin well. I made a mistake with the tyres choice – Lechner explains – because I needed a full wet compound. Thanks to my experience, I was able to recover the gap, grabbing the overall lead. I’m a bit sore, but I’m satisfied“.
Letizia Marzani (Merida Italia) clinched victory in the Junior race, consolidating the overall lead.
On Sunday April 28th, in San Marino, the Junior Men opened Internazionali d’Italia Series‘ stage 3 Titano XCO in style, with Andreas Emanuele Vittone‘s solo win on the difficult route charted by the San Marino Cycling Federation.
Velo Club Tamaro’s athlete showed up alone on the finish, outdistancing his rivals in the first lap. Vittone claimed his first success in the 2019 edition of the most important Italian Mountain Bike circuit, conquering the overall jersey realized by Northwave Custom Project. Behind the winner, Dario Cherchi (Bici Camogli) and Jan Laner (Bike Team Gais) completed the podium.
Vittone leads Internazionali d’Italia Series’ overall standings with 80 points after three stages, ahead of Cherchi (68 points). “I am delighted to grab this jersey – Vittone explains. – After the poor race in Andora’s opening round, I found a good feelings. I wanted to take the jersey in my home race, in La Thuile, but I just did things a little early, that’s all”.
On Sunday April 28th, Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 3 is ready for a major show. At the Montecchio Park, it’s time for a World Cup preview among World Champion Nino Schurter, Italian Champion Gerhard Kerschbaumer and the GC leader Stephane Tempier (live streaming on Youtube and Facebook at 3.30 PM CET)
The top riders in World Mountain Bike feels at home at Internazionali d’Italia Series. The Republic of San Marino warms up for a charming stage: tomorrow, Sunday April 28th, Titano XCO will take life at the Montecchio Park, offering a World Cup preview, featuring the top two riders of the UCI World Ranking – reigning World and Olympic Champion Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM) and Italian Champion Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Ursus), as well as Internazionali d’Italia Series GC leader Stephane Tempier (Bianchi Countervail), winner of the first two rounds in Andora and Nals.
There will be several reasons for interest in the second edition of the event organized by the San Marino Cycling Federation: in fact, the organizers’ goal is to consolidate the race among the main events of the international MTB calendar.
“I think the race will be very competitive – Kerschbaumer explains – but I fell pretty good. The main rivals will be Schurter, Tempier, Forster and Braidot. It’s a beautiful route, more challenging than the last year. In addition, the course could become slippery with the rain, and I wouldn’t regret such option.”
GC leader Stephane Tempier doesn’t hide: “After winning the first two rounds, my goal is to grab the third success in a row. I’m fine and the MTB season is reaching its core. The presence of top-class athletes like Schurter, Kerschbaumer represents an important opportunity to test myself in view of UCI World Cup’s opener in Albstadt”.
Schurter, Kerschbaumer, Tempier and more: the list of the top riders facing the 4,2Km circuit includes European Champion Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM) and his main rival in the 2018 Continental race, Italian Luca Braidot (C.S. Carabinieri), in addition to 2018 Titano XCO’s winner Martin Loo (Elios Code Factory Racing) and Andri Frischknecht (Scott-SRAM).
In the Open’s Women race, the contenders for the leader jersey designed by Northwave Custom Project, Martina Berta (50 points) and Eva Lechner (49 points) will find another tough opponent in Internazionali d’Italia Series’ defending champion Marika Tovo (Ghost Factory Racing).
The Junior races promises to be uncertain: the men’s competition will open the Sunday’s programme at 10.30 AM with Andreas Vittone (Velo Club Monte Tamaro) as favourite, opposed to Emanuele Huez (KTM-Protek Dama) and Dario Cherchi (Bici Camogli Golfo). In the Junior women category, the duel between Letizia Marzani (Merida Italia Team) and Letizia Motalli (KTM-Protek-Dama) is expected to animate the race at the foot of Mount Titano.
From 15.30 CET, it will be possible to follow the Open Men’s race in live streaming on Internazionali d’Italia Series’ Youtube and Facebook official channels, with highlights and interviews of all the races.
Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 2 Titano XCO was presented in Valdragone (Republic of San Marino). Great expectation for Nino Schurter’s comeback to the main Italian Mountain Bike circuit: the World and Olympic Champion will challenge Italian Champion Kerschbaumer for a remake of the 2018 Worlds duel, as well as circuit leader Tempier, winner in Andora and Nals. An integral live streaming of the Men’s Open race will be broadcast on Internazionali d’Italia Series online channels
It’s going to be a clash of titans in San Marino on Sunday April 28th. World and Olympic Champion Nino Schurter (Scott SRAM MTB Racing Team), his main rival in the 2018 season, Italian National Champion Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado Ursus) and Internazionali d’Italia Series leader Stephane Tempier (Bianchi Countervail) are expected to be the frontline favourites for the 2nd edition of Titano XCO.
The rematch of the last XCO World Championships between Schurter and Kerschbaumer will characterize Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 3, presented on Monday April 15th in San Marino’s Typical Wine Consortium, in Valdragone (Republic of San Marino).
Augusto Michelotti (Secretary of State for Territory and Tourism), Marco Podeschi (Secretary of State for Education and Sports), Gian Primo Giardi (President of the San Marino National Olympic Committee), Valter Baldiserra (President of the San Marino Cycling Federation) and Alessandro Stacchini (President of the Organizing Committee) attended the presentation press conference of the second edition of the event organized by the San Marino Cycling Federation.
LIVE STREAMING FOR THE MEN’S OPEN RACE
The UCI XCO World Cup will open in Albstadt (Germany) in a few weeks, but Titano XCO could prove to be a reliable dress rehearsal. San Marino awaits UCI World Ranking #1 Schurter, #2 Kerschbaumer and the best athlete in this early part of the season, Tempier. After a resounding win at Absa Cape Epic, Schurter aims to return on the first step of Internazionali d’Italia Series’ podium, three years after the last time (Milan, 2016). Solid in his early season display, Kerschbaumer is motivated by the international value of the challenge, whilst Tempier is living a magic moment, winning two “hors catégorie” events in a row, in Haiming and Nals.
An integral live streaming of the Men’s Open race will be broadcast on Internazionali d’Italia Series’ Facebook official page and Youtube channel.
FORSTER vs. BRAIDOT IN A EUROPEAN REMATCH
If Schurter and Kerschbaumer starred at the 2018 World Championships in Lenzerheide, the duel between Nino’s teammate Lars Forster and Luca Braidot (CS Carabinieri-Cicli Olympia Vittoria) characterized the European Championships in Glasgow. The 25-year-old Swiss rider, winner in Buchs on Sunday, has already conquered a success at Internazionali d’Italia Series, in Montichiari 2017. Together with his twin Daniele, Luca Braidot will be looking to disrupt the plans of the main favourites of the Men’s Open race, as will Nadir Colledani (Bianchi-Countervail) and the Santa Cruz FSA duo, formed by the circuit’s defending champion Gioele Bertolini and his teammate Andrea Tiberi.
OPEN WOMEN: BERTA ON LEAD DEFENSE DUTY
Titano XCO is Internazionali d’Italia Series’ halfway point: in the Women’s Open category, the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race in Nals confirmed Andora Race Cup’s winner Martina Berta (Torpado Ursus) as overall leader. In the overall standings, the Italian Champion Eva Lechner (Torpado Südtirol) chases her young compatriot by 1 point only. In addition, Sudtirolean youngster Greta Seiwald (Santa Cruz FSA), the winner of Titano XCO’s first edition Serena Calvetti (KTM-Protek Dama) and Chiara Teocchi (Bianchi Countervail) will also look to be in the discussion.
Located at the foot of Mount Titano, the “Montecchio Park” is ready to host the challenge between the Mountain Bike top riders. Compared to the circuit hosting the 2017 Games of the Small States of Europe, the organizers added technical and spectacular passages, like the “Foxhole”, changing the final part of the circuit to give public a better view. In total, the circuit measures 4 kilometers with 180 mt. elevation per lap.
The Titano XCO races have been scheduled as follows: on Saturday April 27th the races of Kids (3 pm CET), organized in collaboration with the SS Juvenes, and the race of Amateurs (3.30 pm CET), organized with the San Marino MTB Team, whilst ib Sunday the Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 3 is scheduled. The programme starts with the Men’s Junior race at 10.30 am, followed by the Women competitions (Juniores and Open) at 1 pm CET, and the Men’s Open race at 3.30 pm CET.
The Titano XCO project is supported by the San Marino Olympic Committee and from the Secretariat of State for Sport of the Republic of San Marino. The project is an ambitious one, supported by partners such as Giochi del Titano, Lauretana, Black Road, Birra Forst, Bar Ristorante “Da Italo”, Consorzio Vini di San Marino and Idesign Hotel. Northwave and Shimano – two international brands in the world cycling – are the “main partners” of the 2019 Internazionali d’Italia Series